Day 41, November 20, 1997: Key West to a place west of Vero Beach, FL

There is no doubt about it now. The mere fact of being in the tourist and retirement areas of Florida is making me more misanthropic by the minute. Not that I have anything against people taken in small numbers but in their hundreds of thousands and among their buildings they are more than I can stand. This is the reason I am not actually in Vero Beach. Too damned many people over there combined with too much development. Here near the orange groves is bad enough...

Actually, today should have been easier than the day before but it didn't turn out that way. I started out by threading my way back up the Keys in reverse order (there is no other way). Today was bright and sunny and the traffic was actually lighter than yesterday but I found myself constantly annoyed at all of the damage wrought in the name of "improving" things. When I got back to the mainland I knew enough to avoid the worst of Miami by taking the turnpike around it and didn't cut back to the coast until I was well past it. No go. There is still a constant string of development up the coast with not even a momentary respite. If anything it is even uglier than the Gulf side by dint of being older and more run down. Back to the interstate I went with hopes of not seeing any more of it and north I went with hopes of spending not another day of Florida.

I have decided that, if I were forced to live in this misbegotten state, I would have to live up in the "elbow" around Apalachicola. This is the area inhabited by those dirt-poor redneck thowbacks I mentioned a few days ago. Give me them over these any day.

A correction about the bridges on the drive down the Keys: the longest bridge is only seven miles, not ten as I declared yesterday. Guess my eyeball calibration is drifting with age.

I have no pictures from today, there being nothing worthy of my attention in the mood I was in. Instead, here is one of the numerous marinas on Key West as the sun went down last night.

The car has had over 10,000 miles put on it since this little adventure started. Tomorrow had better find me out of Florida (or there's no telling what I might do) as the 13,000 mile journey around the edges of the USA continues for another few days.


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